Accessibility Fund 2017: successful projects

In line with our charitable aims we have granted £26,134 to seven projects to support training, activities or initiatives which widen access to, and participation in, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and practices. Our Accessibility Fund grants are given on the expectation of clear impact, outcomes and/or key learnings.

All applications were reviewed by Oxford Mindfulness Foundation Board members, OMC staff and external advisors. See full details of the application criteria here: Accessibility_Fund_2017.

Of the seven successful projects, five were also supported by the Accessibility Fund in 2016 and are now expanding their activities further. Kate Malleson, Chair of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre Accessibility Group, says, “At the recent CMRP conference we heard from the projects funded in 2016. It was particularly striking to hear the very similar tone and content of the feedback which the projects received from such diverse groups of participants. Prisoners, prison officers, adoptive parents, dementia patients and their carers, refugees, mental health patients, young care leavers and residential staff all talking movingly and in similar ways about the positive effects of their mindfulness practice. I am incredibly impressed both by the quality of the projects and the levels of commitment of the project organisers, and we are delighted to be able to support so many of them again this year“.

The seven projects being supported in 2017 are:

Andy Phee, Pentonville Prison Project
Amount awarded: £2150
This project was awarded funding from the Accessibility Fund 2016 to enable MBCT courses to be offered to staff from several London prisons, and to remand prisoners in HMP Pentonville experiencing mental health problems. You can read an update on their work so far here. Now they aim to expand on the practices and reach more prisoners, by offering more mindfulness training (taught pro-bono by Mark Williams) and course books.

Tim Anfield, Mindful Families
Amount awarded: £3930
The Mindful Families project was founded in February 2016 with the aim of enabling more people to access mindfulness, principally parents and children living in deprived areas. MF have already delivered 14 mindfulness courses in schools and eight Family Mindfulness sessions with parents and children in schools (using MiSP curricula, based on MBCT). The current project aims to build evidence and case studies to demonstrate the value of providing mindfulness training to parents as part of a whole school-community approach to mindfulness.

Ariana Faris, Mindfulness without Borders
Amount awarded: £5660
Ariana Faris was awarded funding from the Accessibility Fund 2016, to run pilot programmes in Cardiff and London delivering MBCT adapted for refugee communities who may have experienced complex trauma. So far all feedback has been extremely positive – read a full report here. The current project will draw on learning from the first phase and continue to widen access to mindfulness practice and skills for women in this population.

Jo Grant, MBCT course for people with recurrent depression in a second high deprivation area in Bristol
Amount awarded: £3890
The Portland Centre for Integrative Medicine was awarded Funding from the Accessibility Fund 2016, to pilot a project offering MBCT to local residents with recurrent depression in Southmead estate in Bristol, where MBCT is not available in NHS services. Evaluation has shown that the programme was successful, with participants reporting reduced active depression, improved wellbeing and functioning – read a full report here. The current project will build on this success, expanding into Filwood, a ward in another deprivation hotspot, where there would otherwise be barriers to accessing MBCT.

Claire-Louise Symonds, The Mindful Parenting Community Project
Amount awarded: £4000
This project was also awarded Funding from the Accessibility Fund 2016, to pilot specialised MBCT courses for perinatal parents with mental health problems, parents from a deprived area, and adoptive parents. Building on the success of this programme, MPCP sought further funding to provide and evaluate MBCT for two new hard-to-reach parenting groups: fathers and foster parents. They also wish to continue their work with adoptive parents.

Kate Stewart, Bringing Mindfulness to Young People in Supported Housing
Amount awarded: £1070
Kate Stewart was awarded funding from the Accessibility Fund 2016 for a three-stage project to train, support and empower front-line housing workers supporting vulnerable people, and the young people that they support. Now in the first stage, they have delivered an MBCT-derived course to front-line workers who provide housing and personal support to 16-24 year-old care leavers.

They requested supplementary funding to expand the first stage and deliver a second intervention, as they believe that more groundwork is needed before they can begin work with the young people themselves.

Beth Bolitho, Building mindfulness practice with disadvantaged young people in the London Borough of Hackney
Amount awarded: £5434
Since April 2016 Hackney CVS youth team have been working to support young people, particularly those of African and Caribbean backgrounds, to develop the skills and abilities to navigate and thrive in the adult world. This project aims to offer and evaluate the provision of an MBCT-derived course to disadvantaged young people facing a number of barriers to achieving their potential, such as low confidence, low key skills, drugs/alcohol misuse, offending histories and difficult family life, and who are at risk of developing mental health issues.